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How to Save Your Amaryllis Bulb To Bloom Again Next Year

Many folks enjoy the annual tradition of blooming an amaryllis bulb at Christmas time. Their bright, showy blooms bring festive cheer to the winter holidays. If you’ve got an amaryllis, then I’ll bet you’ve got some gorgeous blooms right about now. Or maybe your lovely Christmas flowers are coming to an end.

Bright, red amaryllis in bloom for Christmas.
With their green stems and large, red blooms amaryllis are the perfect plant for the holidays. But what do you do with them once the show is over?

In either case, as the holidays wind down and the new year begins, you’re probably scratching your head and wondering…

“What should I do with my amaryllis bulb once it has bloomed?”

A hand holds up the wilted bloom of a red amaryllis.
Looks like the party is over for this year.

For many people, the answer is the trash bin.

But it’s so easy to save your bulbs so they can bloom again next year. With very little fuss, you could have the same bulbs blooming on your windowsill year after year. Or you could save the bulbs to give as gifts next year, ready to bloom for their new owner.

Rather than pitching these bold beauties, read on to find out how to save your amaryllis bulb so it will bloom again next year.

A Quick Note About Wax Covered Bulbs

Wax-covered amaryllis bulbs decoratively arranged on a glass platter.
While the wax-dipped bulbs look nice, they aren’t good for the plant itself.

In recent years, amaryllis bulbs covered in wax have become increasingly popular. They don’t require soil or a pot, so they’re super easy to grow. Unfortunately, because of how the bulb is prepared before being dipped in wax, they’re pretty much a single bloom bulb. The bulb can’t breathe encased in wax, and any water added will rot the bulb over time.

And to allow the plants to stand upright without a pot, the roots and basal plate are cut off of the bulb, and usually, a wire is inserted into the bottom to keep it steady. Without roots or the basal plate to regrow them, the bulb won’t bloom again.

If you’re hoping to start a collection of amaryllis to bloom year after year, skip these novelties and opt for the good old-fashioned bulbs each Christmas.

A Bulb Like Any Other

An amaryllis bulb isolated on a decorative background.
Flowering bulbs are kind of like natural rechargeable batteries.

Amaryllis grow in much the same way as any other bulb. They bloom, then store nutrients in their leaves, and after a period of dormancy, they start the cycle all over again.

Close up of the top of an amaryllis bulb.
This amaryllis bulb has finished blooming and is ready to put all of its energy into growing leaves to store nutrients.

Once your amaryllis is finished flowering, cut the flower stems to within an inch of the top of the bulb. Don’t cut the leaves, though; these are needed to make and store energy within the bulb. Let the leaves continue to grow. Think of them as long, green solar panels.


A square pot with an amaryllis bulb planted in it.
Like most bulbs, the ‘shoulders’ of the bulb should remain above the soil.

If your bulb was sitting in a dish of water or pebbles with no soil, it’s time to give it a more permanent home. Plant your bulb in a pot with a well-draining potting mix. Be sure the pot you choose has a drainage hole, as bulbs are notorious for rotting when left sitting in soggy soil.

You’ll want to make sure the bulb has at least an inch of room on all sides and that the pot is deep enough for the roots to grow down 2-4”.

Plant the bulb, roots downward, and keep the top third of the bulb up out of the dirt.

Sun and Water

A small pot of paperwhites and a larger pot with an amaryllis bulb set on a sunny windowsill.
That’s right little bulb, soak up those rays.

Keep your newly repotted bulb on a windowsill in a sunny location. It’s going to need that sun to store energy in its leaves so it will bloom again next year.

Water your amaryllis bulb whenever the soil is dry. It’s important not to let the bulb dry out.

Time to Move Outside

Once the weather has warmed and nights remain above 50 degrees, you can move your bulb outside if you like. They do best in partial shade but will tolerate full sun. Remember, it needs that sun to make energy. Just be sure to continue watering your bulb whenever the soil dries out. If the soil remains dry, the bulb will go dormant, and you don’t want that to happen until the fall.

The Dormancy Period

Towards the end of September, you’ll need to bring your bulb inside before any frosts. Choose a consistently cool location (around 40 degrees), like a shed or garage or even a dry basement.

At this point, you’ll stop watering the bulb and let the leaves die off. This will take between 2-3 weeks. Once the leaves are brown, you can trim them off of the bulb.

Keep the bulb in this location for around 6-8 weeks total.


Close up of red and white striped amaryllis blooms.
Before you know it, you’ll be baking Christmas cookies and your bulb will be blooming again.

When you’re ready, bring the pot inside where it’s warm, and place it on a sunny windowsill. Give the soil a good drink, again draining off any standing water. Continue to water the soil as it dries out.

Your well-tended bulb will happily bloom again just in time for the holidays.

Can I Grow My Bulb Outside?

For those who live in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 and above, the answer is yes, absolutely. Even those living in zone 8 can grow them outside if they cover the bulbs during winter frosts.

For the rest of us, it’s best to stick to growing these gorgeous plants inside.

A group of blooming red amaryllis growing outside.
In some areas you can grow your amaryllis outside.

To grow your amaryllis bulb outside, you’ll need to plant the bulb in a sunny location, much like you would repot it – shoulders above the soil, roots down. If you’re planting more than one bulb, space them about a foot apart.

Because your bulb was forced to grow in the winter, it may take an entire growing season for it to revert to it’s natural growing cycle of blooming in the spring. So, if you don’t see blooms the first year, don’t give up on it.

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere you can plant amaryllis outside; I highly suggest you do. The blooms are just as gorgeous outside, and the bulbs are resistant to both rodents and deer making them a hardy addition to your landscape. You could start a whole flower bed, adding a new Christmas bulb each year.

See You Next Christmas

See? I told you it was easy. With no more care than you’d give your average houseplant, you’ll be enjoying this year’s amaryllis bulb next Christmas. And many Christmases to come.

Update December 2023:

Below you’ll find my guide to reviving your amaryllis bulb so it blooms again for the holidays.

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Tracey Besemer

Hey there, my name is Tracey. I’m the editor-in-chief here at Rural Sprout.

Many of our readers already know me from our popular Sunday newsletters. (You are signed up for our newsletters, right?) Each Sunday, I send a friendly missive from my neck of the woods in Pennsylvania. It’s a bit like sitting on the front porch with a friend, discussing our gardens over a cup of tea.

Originally from upstate NY, I’m now an honorary Pennsylvanian, having lived here for the past 18 years.

I grew up spending weekends on my dad’s off-the-grid homestead, where I spent much of my childhood roaming the woods and getting my hands dirty.

I learned how to do things most little kids haven’t done in over a century.

Whether it was pressing apples in the fall for homemade cider, trudging through the early spring snows of upstate NY to tap trees for maple syrup, or canning everything that grew in the garden in the summer - there were always new adventures with each season.

As an adult, I continue to draw on the skills I learned as a kid. I love my Wi-Fi and knowing pizza is only a phone call away. And I’m okay with never revisiting the adventure that is using an outhouse in the middle of January.

These days, I tend to be almost a homesteader.

I take an eclectic approach to homesteading, utilizing modern convenience where I want and choosing the rustic ways of my childhood as they suit me.

I’m a firm believer in self-sufficiency, no matter where you live, and the power and pride that comes from doing something for yourself.

I’ve always had a garden, even when the only space available was the roof of my apartment building. I’ve been knitting since age seven, and I spin and dye my own wool as well. If you can ferment it, it’s probably in my pantry or on my kitchen counter. And I can’t go more than a few days without a trip into the woods looking for mushrooms, edible plants, or the sound of the wind in the trees.

You can follow my personal (crazy) homesteading adventures on Almost a Homesteader and Instagram as @aahomesteader.

Peace, love, and dirt under your nails,